Book Review: When Ashes Fall – Marni Mann

synopsis single

It’s been said that you can’t love two men at the same time.
You can’t split your heart, soul, and body in half.
But I’m here to tell you, you can.
Dylan Cole is like ice, sharp and unpredictable, the thunder inside a tumultuous storm.
Smith Reid is warmth, soft and gentle, perfect like a sunny day.
Both are mine.
But I can have only one.
There are two sides to this tale.
I’m here to tell you mine.
If you think this story is about a cheater, you couldn’t be more wrong.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

The synopsis sounds dramatic. The story is depressingly dramatic.

 

`It´s been said you can´t love two men at the same time.`

 

This synopsis is like every other one for a serious ménage á trois romance. They all promise the same but few rarely deliver the intensity a love triangle has/is supposed to have. Well, there´s no love triangle in this book. At least not in a traditional sense.

So, why did I still end up buying this book? A few spoiler-free online reviews were pretty convincing. Plus I wanted to be wowed again by a massive love story about a woman who can´t make up her mind on who she wants more.

`When Ashes Fall` by Marni Mann is a story about love, loss, heartbreak, heartache, and recovery. It´s pretty much one gloomy cloud with a few rays of sunshine… That, there, is the story in a nutshell. When ashes fall

Meeh, I wasn´t blown away. Not by this book. Although, the story on its own is okay.  It´s the writing that put me off.

 

  • The story felt like I was in some gray universe. I wanted to find the legendary Color Belt and rescue Boston with some rainbows while riding on a horse named Starlite ( I´ve been watching too many Rainbow Brite episodes )

 

  • Chapter sizes were somewhere between 4 – 7 pages. A reader is able to fly through the pages and conquer 56 chapters + an epilogue with ease. While this isn´t really story threatening it is annoying knowing you get little information per scene/ chapter. For a story as heavy and emotional as this one is I would have liked a little more description.

 

  • There was POV hopping- divided by three. Sometimes I don´t need to have a third character´s point of view unless they have something relevant to add to the story. What happened here was both men and the female protagonist had voices. It would´ve been enough if one of the men and the Heroine had their moments.  You know, maybe make things a little more interesting by not knowing EVERYTHING.

 

  • The Past & Present flips. Really, I don´t like it when stories jump back and forth.

 

  • I can buy an instant-love once. I can´t buy an instant-love twice. It´s just not going to happen. This puts a huge damper on my mood because how fat are chances an instant-love happens twice to the same person? I´m not judging. Okay, I am.

 

  • An overuse of three-word sentences.

 

 

The writing and the way the story was told didn´t do it for me at all. The POV changes interrupted my reading flow. Just when I finally felt a connection with a scene it was cut off by a time leap or a different POV.

 

Would I recommend this book? No. It´s 65% depressing and 35% hopeful. But I can totally see why others would like this book. It´s romantically depressing and can touch all the right buttons if a reader likes that. I don´t, especially with the way it´s written, so…

Would I reread this book? Nope.

 


 

The Cover – 3 Stars:   Although I´m not a fan of character images on covers I do think the woman on the front suits the Heroine just fine.

The Story – 2 Stars:   A little too depressing for my taste.

The Characters – 2 stars:   I thought Dylan was completely unnecessary. Alix- She could´ve been more convincing. Smith, on the other hand- What a great character. But the trio didn´t have enough spark for me.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Meeh.

2 stars

 



 

You can purchase `When Ashes Fall by author Marni Mann over at Amazon.com

When ashes fall

 

 

 

 

Book Review:`Those Chance Encounters` by Pearl Khatri

 

synopsis single

 

𝑲𝒆𝒏𝒏𝒆𝒕𝒉:
She shattered my soul with the very first smile she gave me. I wanted her, craved her, yearned for her…
She wanted nothing to do with me, but I was an adamant bastard through and freaking through…

𝑨𝒎𝒂𝒓𝒂:
He pulled at my being with the very first wink he gave me. I desired him, ached for him, broke entirely for him.
He didn’t live up to his promise, keeping me waiting…praying…hoping…dreaming…


 

Warning From The Author ( taken from Goodreads )

𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒃𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒄𝒖𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒈𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒔 𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒚-𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈, 𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒆𝒓, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒃𝒖𝒍𝒍𝒚𝒊𝒏𝒈. 𝑰𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒐𝒓 𝒖𝒏𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆, 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒅𝒗𝒊𝒔𝒆𝒅.

 


 

On  a kind note:

This is my opinion. My opinions are not facts. This review is also a pro-consumer. This means I´m offering my opinion via review to guide and possibly help indecisive readers.

 

My Thoughts 2

 

Me stumbling upon `Those Chance Encounters by author Pearl Khatri was a chance encounter. It was one of those accidental bump-ins I believe others would appreciate more.

 

It´s romantic. It´s cute. It has humor. It´s revealing. It´s supposed to be great on a level I´m not acquainted with yet.

 

Much to my dismay, `Those Chance Encounters` didn´t meet my reading standards. Not by a long shot. I´m actually disappointed.

Before I dive into a more detailed explanation of my thoughts I´d like to point out what drove me to read this book in the first place. Those

The Cover & The Synopsis

There´s no denying how cute the cover image is.  And although a little slim, I found the synopsis interesting. I figured I´d be getting loads of story with the little description provided.

So, what´s keeping me from adoring this book? Let me put it this way…

 

The whole problem with this story wasn´t the story itself. `Those Chance Encounters` had the ability to be a great story. But it was the lack of structure in all areas that prevented this from being a great read.

This is probably the most chaotic story I´ve ever read. The author included topics such as body image issues, bullying and lack of self-awareness and all I was able to see was how respectful and at the same time dismissive these topics were handled. How am I, as a reader, supposed to feel empathy when I´m hardly given the chance to develop feelings?

There were moments when I had the feeling the author made the story up. But then again, this story felt like a strong case of „The protagonist is the author´s self- insert“ and that the whole book was based on personal experiences. There´s nothing against using one or the other. But for a reader to feel both is a little confusing and doesn´t work in the book´s or author´s favor.

Which leads me to my next point:

 The writing. I discovered I´m not a fan of the author´s writing.

Wordy. Excessive. Uncontrolled. My reading flow was constantly interrupted by the overuse of words I haven´t seen or heard of in two decades, which, I might add, is exhausting. Usually, this can be a breath of fresh air while reading but in this case, I was confused and irritated.

As for the characters- I tried. When the characters are 2-D you´ll find it hard to have a connection with them. I need to be convinced by actions instead of words in order to develop a bond with fictional people. I would like to relate. I´d rather not sit here and ask myself how this character made my top 3 list of most unliked characters. I didn´t feel anything for Amara or Kenneth. I wasn´t able to warm up to them due to the indecisive character portrayal.  Let´s not forget the kinks and quirks- Yeah, no. I´d rather forget them as they added nothing valuable to each character or the story.

With that being said- I think I won´t check out another book from this author.

While I´m pretty sure this book will find fans, it wasn´t strong enough to win me over.


 

Would I recommend this book? To the people who value my opinion- No.

Would I reread this book? No.


 

The Cover – 5 Stars:   Hands down- It´s a beauty.

The Story – 2 Stars:   Trite and, at times, confusing

The Characters – 1 Star:  It´s a no from me.

My emotional state after finishing this read – I´m not happy.

1 star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Sparrow – L. J. Shen

synopsis single

Troy Brennan

Every southie in Boston knows that name. The son of a dead mobster. The heart throb with steel blue eyes. “The Fixer” who can make or break you in this city. 

Oh, and my new husband. 

Sparrow Raynes

That’s me. No one seemed to remember my name up until he barged into my life. 
But then he caged me.
Kidnapped me.
And killed every chance I had to runaway from the place where we grew up.
Put simply, Troy Brennan clipped my wings.

I have dreams, big ones, but I doubt he’d ever let me chase them. I have no idea why he’d decided to take me as his wife. But I do know this: pissing off this man will not do me any good. At all.


Warning Label Copied From Goodreads
Sparrow is a standalone, full-length novel. It contains graphic violence and adult situations some may find offensive.

 

My Thoughts 2

I think I would have had a different reading experience if I had read `Sparrow` by L. J. Shen before I read the authors other, more recent mafia romance novel The Kiss Thief. 

I enjoyed reading `Sparrow`. I liked how dark it was and how vivid the author had Sparrowpainted her scenes for her readers. The only thing that bothered me ( and this is just my personal feeling ) was that I felt this  one wasn´t as strong as The Kiss Thief. If I compare the two books ( which I can because they´re very much alike ) I can say that `Sparrow` felt more like a test version for me. And this isn´t a negative thing.

 

What I appreciated most…

  • The writing. L. J. Shen is a master of her craft. Her stories are clear and straight forward. The author’s ability to create just enough angst to keep a reader on the edge of their seats is great. Good writing is the key to good story telling.

 

  • The story. I´m a sucker for mafia romances. Everything is fierce. Fierce love. Fierce hate. Fierce relationships…  In `Sparrow`everything was fierce and dangerous. I didn´t quite get the Scarface – Tony Montana vibes but there were some things I really liked about the mafia world the author created.

 

 

Unfortunately, the good always comes with the stuff I didn´t quite like:

 

What I didn´t appreciate…

  • The characters lack of feelings. This is not to say they were emotionless. The Hero and Heroine had their fair share of feelings but for me, this couple… they were too tough. Tough cookies are great but I need that emotional balance. I clearly saw the affection these characters had for each other and I understood how these people came to be who they were but I needed some softness to even out the toughness.
  • The ending. There was nothing wrong with the ending. It was completely fine. Just not something I like to see happen for characters. The ending wasn´t for me.

 

With that being said – I still enjoyed `Sparrow`. I think it´s a great, exciting dark romance with juicy bits that´ll get any romance reader hooked.


Would I recommend this book? Yes.

Would I reread this book? Probably, yes. There are parts that are totally reread worthy.


 

The Cover – 2 Stars:  The flames. I´m not sure why they needed to be on the cover because the wing works wonders on it´s own. The blue background, the black feathers with the white font would have been a total eye catcher.

The Story – 4 stars:  What can I say that I haven´t said already? I liked it. Dark, gritty, fierce and sexy.

The Characters – 3 stars:  That extra softness was missing. But other than that I enjoyed their characters.

My emotional state after finishing this read:  Satisfied.

 

3 stars

 

You can purchase `Sparrow` by L. J. Shen by clicking here.


 

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a lovely day.

Much love,

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Book Review: Lucian Divine – Renée Carlino

synopsis single

“My guardian angel is a drunk.”

Evelyn Casey’s life is at a standstill. She’s in her mid-twenties, struggling with the dating scene in San Francisco. Nothing seems to be working out, and she’s starting to think that she’ll live out her days in her crummy apartment with her overbearing roommate, Brooklyn. It’s absurd, but sometimes Evey longs for a guardian angel to show up and save the day.

And then he does. Seriously. His name is Lucian and he’s a guardian angel, been on the job for two thousand years. His sudden presence in her life is both good—he’s brilliant, witty, and warm—and bad—he’s brilliant, witty, warm, and hot as —-. But as perfect as Lucian seems, he’s got problems of his own. He’s taken up drinking and he’s brazenly inserted himself into Evey’s life, going against the greatest cosmic law ever created.

For Evey, the rules are simple: You are not allowed to hook up with your guardian angel. But sometimes fulfilling your destiny requires a leap of faith, a confrontation with God. 

Yes, God as in God.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

 

`Lucian Divine` by author Renée Carlino is what I like to call an unsure read.

The beginning is cute and interesting. You get sucked in to the story pretty quick and can´t wait to read more until you reach the point where you´ve read more and start asking yourself questions. Lucian Divine

I´m not a stranger to Renée Carlino´s work so I was familiar with her writing. But this one? I´m not sure I can consider `Lucian Divine` a favorite.

The story concept is great: A young woman falls in love with her guardian angel. Only that angel has luggage. They fall in love and together they create and carry their special brand of luggage.

Not bad when seeing it from that point.

 

And all was well until the speed picked up. 

The main reason that kept me from giving this book all my shiny 5 stars was the pacing of the story. There were parts that felt rushed. Then there were parts that really sped up. I wasn´t confronted with this issue from the previous book I read from the author and it slightly bugged me.

 

With a story idea like that there could have been more. 

This is not to say I was completely unsatisfied with everything. As I´ve said, the concept is great. Even the characters were good, but good is never enough. A reader gets some character info but sadly not enough to actually know a character. Kind of like:

“Here´s a bit. There´s a bit. That should be enough. Now you can work out the rest.” 

If I´m not offered enough character detail then I can´t really form a bond with said figures.

 

Maybe not standalone material.

It would be rude of me to say the author could have turned this standalone in to a trilogy… Meeh, I´ll say it anyways: `Lucian Divine` could have easily been a great trilogy.  Because I felt I was missing big chunks of the story.  Big chunks that would have beautifully stretched the story. Instead I felt like I received a chopped off version of something grand. Granted, this isn´t necessarily a reason to give a book a lesser rating, yet I couldn´t shake the nagging feeling of needing more pages to appreciate this type of read.

 

One of those endings.

The ending wasn´t shocking or surprising. I´d say it was your typical “this is what happens to characters when they make secret deals with “God”. Mind you- A reader isn´t in the know about what goes down, and never will be. This makes the ending feel extra rushed. I´m not really a  fan of these semi happy endings but it worked for the story.


 

Would I recommend this book? Sure. `Lucian Divine` is a quick and light read that offers topics about faith, love and life. A nice romance for in between.

Would I reread this book? I wouldn´t, no.

 


 

The Cover – 3 Stars:    It´s okay.

The Story – 4 Stars:    Great story but too fast paced.

The Characters – 3 Stars:  I thought both were okay. They would have been better if a reader got more insight on them.

My emotional state after finishing this read – Not blown away.

 

3 stars



 

You can purchase `Lucian Divine` on Amazon.comLucian Divine


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Mr. Male Protagonist, Why Do You Growl?

Romance readers will know about this. Erotica fans are familiar with it. Even Young Adult lovers have seen this occasionally in their beloved innocent books.

 

Growling male protagonists

 

A reaction from a male character in fiction novels triggered mostly by jealousy and / or approval.  But why?

Let´s do a quick run down on living beings that growl

 

  • animals

 

That´s it. Growling is a low, guttural vocalization produced by predatory animals as an aggressive warning but can also be found in other contexts such as playful behaviors or mating ( thanks Wiki * wink * )

So, why are we reading about CEOs, lumberjacks, bad boys and the hot quarterbacks in contemp. romance / young adult / erotica novels growling when it´s clearing an animalistic behaviorism?

 

 

(Warning: Interesting short fun fact ahead)

If you hadn´t known already, there are similarities between human body language and animal behavior. It´s actually interesting to know how human body language resembles the non verbal communication of animals. We can be cocky like cats, we signal aggression like dogs by baring our teeth and we gesture like apes. ( end of fun fact )

And this is okay. To describe a man´s movement by comparing him to a panther isn´t a problem. Sounding like a panther is.

Do we growl? Like actually growl? And what has authors thinking growling is an acceptable reaction? And why is it only male characters who growl?

I´m one of those readers who can get completely lost in a book. Once I´m invested then that´s it- I´m all in. I´m also the type that reads and fails to see someone else´s logic no matter how poetic it may be.

 

“He let out a growl…”

 

A line that has come up in almost all of my novels that have territorial Heroes. Aah, that word: Territorial. Another word that´s often associated with male protagonists. They are territorial. Sure. Why the hell not, right? It´s supposedly hot to read about a guy growling his way in to a woman´s knickers.

10 years, people…. I´ve spent 10 years of questioning this in romance novels and have only recently asked myself what I would do if a male would growl near me. Would this even happen in real life?

 

My first thought and facial expression would be, without a doubt, this, should a man ever growl in public:

 

The thought alone of the husbutt growling his approval when seeing me in a dress would definitely earn him this reaction from me:

 

And should he ever growl because he´s jealous then I might have to use physical education:

 

This is not to say that growling should be banned from all modern romance literature. Growling works beautifully for fictional characters in paranormal romances and fantasy novels or (!!!) for contemporary romances that involve male characters who´ve once been feral children that have had been forced by nature to adapt to wildlife and animals- Technically, they´re allowed to growl.

“I heard a low threatening growl from somewhere in the room. It was him.”

 

Me when I read that line in a contemp. romance novel

 

So, my question is:

Mr. Male Protagonist,

Why do you growl? Why not just smile with pride, use a great comeback line,.. or how about moaning? If you´re going to do something during your less animalistic sex then you shouldn´t growl.


QUESTION Of The Day:

Am I alone with my thoughts? Do men these days growl? Have you ever heard of a female character in novels growl? What are your thoughts? Does a growling male protagonist bother you? What do you think about growling in general?

Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments below. ❤